Space Saviors, Monster Slayers, and Creepy Connections

New Comic Book Day highlights some of the best books released this week.

I can’t believe we’re already half way through July…wait, am I serious? Holy crap, it’s already half way through JULY! This year’s flying by, at least for me, and I blame all the great comics. This has been one of the best years in comics I’ve had, with so many amazing books hitting the shelves. Beyond the books we’ve had awesome comic movies light up the screen, and even a couple animated features that were beyond great. With that said, this week is no different as we pick up a new series from Image, and follow up with a couple issues I’m completely hooked on. Let’s get into it…

Horizon-1-CoverHorizon #1

Written By: Brandon Thomas
Art By: Juan Gedeon
Published: July 13, 2016 by Image Comics

Honestly, if you’ve been reading this blog at all it should come as no surprise that I’m highlighting this book. It’s sci-fi, and we all know what a sucker I am for sci-fi, plus Juan Gedeon is drawing this thing, and I’m a huge fan of his work. If you’re unfamiliar with Gedeon, do yourself a favor and check out his work in Strayer from Aftershock. His style is clean yet expressive, simplified but impactful. As for the writer of Horizon, this is my first glimpse into his work, but after this, his name is now on my radar.

This book was simply great. Everything about it struck a perfect note for me. Pacing was great, storytelling was clear, concise, and exciting, the hooks and twists were wonderful, and the character development for a first issue was on point. The main hook for me was that Thomas has taken the stereotypical and flipped it. Normally, humans are the saviors of the galaxy, yet, in this book it looks like we might be the destroyers of all. Instead of relying on genre cliches, Thomas has taken the same idea and spun it, thus it feels familiar and fresh at the same time. We’re following, what looks like, an alien who’s come here to stop humanity from venturing out into space, where we apparently will destroy everything. To do so, our alien protagonist is using some really amazing tech, one such item I want very badly as it generates currency for her to live here. On top of some pretty cool gadgets she’s also using alien contacts, who’re apparently already living here on earth. By the end of this book we’re given the setup, character development that draws into the story, and ending that definitely had me adding this to my pull.

Strayer-5-CoverStrayer #5

Written By: Justin Jordan
Art By: Juan Gedeon
Published: July 13, 2016 by Aftershock Comics

Did you really think that I was going to brag about how great Juan Gedeon’s artwork is in Horizon #1, and then not include Strayer #5 in this week’s NCBD? Strayer is the book that introduced me to Gedeon, and for that I’m eternally grateful because I said in my Horizon review above, his work is great. For Strayer however, I might say his work fits the best. One thing that strikes me as off-putting in fantasy genre comics is how much they try to be superhero books. Everyone is bulky and muscular, even wearing outfits that look like a mixture of spandex and Renaissance Faire costumes. Yet, in Strayer, that simply is not the case. Gedeon’s style allows him to bulk out certain people without it being over done, and even costume them in more appropriate attire without it looking ridiculous. Now, add in Justin Jordan’s handling of the story and characters and what you end up with is probably the best fantasy comic I’ve ever read.

In issue five we’re neck deep into the first story arc, and our heroes are even deeper into baddies and monsters. What’s most intriguing about this particular issue is the knowledge we get about Strayer’s amazing and magical weapon. For those not reading this book, and shame on you for not, his weapon of choice are these magical metal hand-wraps (think brass knuckles but made of magic metal) which he can transform into all sorts of weapons. I won’t spoil what we learn in this issue, but we get a big reveal and even bigger mystery into both Strayer’s weapons and his past. This might be my favorite issue thus far, and I personally can’t wait for more of this story. As I said, but it deserves reiterating, this is in my opinion the best fantasy comic I’ve read in a long time. So do yourself a favor and at least check it out.

House-of-Penance-4-CoverHouse of Penance #4

Written By: Peter Tomasi
Art By: Ian Bertram
Published: July 13, 2016 by Darkhorse Comics

I seriously want to thank Tomasi, Bertram and Darkhorse for introducing me to horror comics, because without them, I would’ve never delved into this genre. It is solely because of House of Penance that I’ve been completely opened up to the idea that horror can be great in comics. This comic is beyond great. It’s beyond freaky as crap also, but it’s also beyond great. I’m not sure if I would classify this book as scary, as I’ve not really been scared, but I will say that it’s most certainly creepy. I believe this is due to the fact that Bertram’s art is the perfect match for Tomasi’s writing. This combination of writer and artist has seriously enhanced my already held view that the artist needs to be a correct match for the story. In my opinion, I don’t know if another artist could be better than Bertram for this book.

In this issue we’re falling down the rabbit hole at breakneck speeds, and I’m not sure we’re ever going to get back to normal. Our lady of the house, Ms. Winchester, is losing her mind, or at least what’s left of it, and honestly you almost feel bad for her. She’s attempting to make right what she believes her family has done wrong by creating weapons that are killing people. She definitely hates guns, and wants to atone for the killing Winchester rifles have done, but at the same time, you know this lady is straight crazy. Then there’s the other side of the crazy coin, our other main character, Mr. Peck who has all kinds of things to atone for, and now that he’s living in the Winchester house it seems like two different crazies are colliding into one hot mess. We have blood tentacles coming out of the walls and floor, but it’s cool, no one else sees them but our two main characters. Heck, Ms. Winchester seems to be both terrified of them and embracing them at the same time. In this book we have Ms. Winchester and Mr. Peck having the weirdest bonding moment I’ve ever seen, and by the end we are left with some of the creepiest interactions thus far. I don’t know how anyone in this story is ever going to make it back to normalcy, but I don’t care either because this story is so good. As I said, this book is ten kinds of freaky mixed with a whole barrel of creepy, and I love every page.

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